I remember those days when there was no internet. Yes, I am that ancient. LOL. I used to buy Chinese New Year cards by the bulk, equipped with a few strips of 20 sen stamps and I began writing as early as a month before CNY to my relatives, cousins and good friends in Taiping, Penang and Kuala Lumpur. Then, the stamp fee increase to 30 sen per card and we were not allowed to seal the card. Sealed cards cost more. Then, behold the internet. We started to send greeting cards using 123greetings or blue mountain. Everything became cheaper!
Still, every year, there are five people who would send me a CNY card without fail. They are my insurance agent, the guy who sold me my Ferrari, my beautician, my car insurance agent and a former classmate who wish to sell me insurance. Oh yeah, I forgot there is also another guy from Great Eastern who would send me cards for all occasions and sometimes hand made them himself.
It is also a time to buy cartons upon cartons of chrysanthemum, winter melon and this year’s latest invention, the mixture of chrysanthemum and lor hon kuo. Taste pretty good! These are usually bought just in case if there’s any visitor to the house. Normally, we would finish all the drinks before the 15 days are over! With the kids around the house, probably this year, we would finish the drinks in 5 days.
As for dried meat, my family prefers Kiew Brothers’ compare to other brands. Some complained it’s too sweet, but I think the meat is the tenderest. I prefer the minced one to the sliced meat because the sliced one is just too hard to chew and somewhat lack the “smoked” smell. I don’t like Loong Kee’s because it contains too much fatty meat and just taste funny, Hock Seng Guan or the “aeroplane” brand because it would take forever to chew because of the hardness.
My family doesn’t buy Mandarin oranges because we get them for free from suppliers and contractors in my office. I think this year, I alone got the entire crate of Mandarin oranges given over the last few days in office. I don’t eat them, so most of them are for guests or to bring with me to visit friends as symbolic gestures.
For lucky draw in office this year, I got myself a box of chocolate. My boss gave me a bottle of Martell. I think I have the word “alcoholic” written all over my forehead. Unlike yesteryears, there wasn’t many hampers this year, so I didn’t get red wine, bird nests, abalone or mushrooms. Let’s be optimistic! There is always next year.
Anyway, the above are the usual happening for my annual, very ordinary Chinese New Year. This year, I won’t be going back to Taiping. Funny how, as much as I dread to go back to hometown and stuff my face silly with food and remain vegetative in front of the tv, I felt a bit lost now of what to do staying in Kuala Lumpur.
Anyway, I think I shall go back to Taiping when the festive season is over to avoid the crazy jams and traffic madness. We don’t have to go back to our hometown to visit our dear ones only on festive seasons. We can do it any other time of the year. It’s sad to see those who live near their aged parents don’t even bother to go home to see them while some of us have to drive very far to see our old parents or take flight back to hometown every 2-3x a year just to visit. Appreciate our parents when they are still around. There might not be much longer time for us to enjoy their company.
Well, here’s wishing everyone a very Happy Chinese New Year and Happy Holidays. Drive safely. May the year of Ox brings you good health, much love and happiness. And most of all, chut yup peng onn (safety wherever you go).